I watch a lot of movies, which you probably guessed if you’re reading this. For some reason I keep chronicling them as if it matters how many movies I see in a given year, and for some reason I keep sharing them. In that spirit, here is the list of films I saw in 2014, in chronological order. Make of this what you will.
Wednesday, December 31, 2014
Monday, December 29, 2014
I’ll watch Salma Hayek in just about anything (I do, however, draw the line at the Grown Ups movies), but if you throw her into a Die Hard style actioner and hand her a big ass gun, like in this trailer for Everly, I’m 100% in.
Sunday, December 28, 2014
If you’re a fan of the humor in movies like This is the End and Pineapple Express, you’ll enjoy the Seth Rogen and James Franco-starring The Interview. If not, you probably won’t find much to your liking. It’s a film full of that broad, crass, bro-style humor that these guys are most known for, and it’s fun, with a ballsy hook, but it’s nothing earth shattering, and is only going to be remembered as the movie that pissed off a petulant little dictator and got Sony hacked all to hell.
Saturday, December 27, 2014
Of the various continuing Doctor Who titles that Titan Comics has going right now, The Twelfth Doctor is something of an anomaly. The others, the Tenth, Eleventh, and, soon, the Ninth Doctors, are all gone and the comics serve as a way for fans to continue to go on adventures with their favorite Time Lords. But Peter Capaldi’s Doctor is still going strong, and will be for some time now that we know both Capaldi and Jenna Louise Coleman will be back for season 9 of the long running sci-fi series. There’s no nostalgia to trade on here, and I won’t say it’s unnecessary, but as we look at issue #3, “The Swords of Kali,” it has a distinctly different feel than the others.
Wednesday, December 24, 2014
Every year I tell myself I’m not going to make an end-of-year top ten list. I hate ranking films, but every year I cave and wind up throwing together a collection that I’m wholly unsatisfied with, and 2014 is proving to be no exception. Despite the fact that it was a terrible year in terms of overall box office receipts, that doesn’t mean there weren’t tons of great movies to be seen. I’m a firm believer that, no matter how fucked up the movie industry gets, there will always be people out there making interesting, worthwhile, badass cinema, you only have to look for it. Just check out all the amazing work on television right now, and all the big name filmmakers who are migrating that way in search of creative freedom. There will always be compelling stories being told.
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Only Angelina Jolie’s second directorial effort, Unbroken is a very beautiful film to look at. Granted, she did herself a solid by retaining the services of celebrated director of photography, Roger Deakins, one of the premiere cinematographers working today. Unfortunately, the rest of the film falls flat, with an uneven pace, odd structure (at least at first), and too steadfast a dedication to telling every single step of Louis Zamperini’s (Jack O’Connell) amazing survival story that it’s ultimately unable to set itself apart from any standard, triumph-of-the-human-spirit type tale.
This is the best news we’ve heard all day. You knew that this was too good to just be a short. A little while back we told you about a crew trying to crowdsource enough cash to make a short film, Portal toHell, about a plumber, played by legendary wrestler and They Live star “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, who battles H.P. Lovecrafts’ most horrific creation, Cthulhu. As awesome as that sounds, it’s still only a short. Or at least it was. The Canadian film just got a massive upgrade as Raven Banner Entertainment stepped in and said, “No, guys, this is too brilliant a concept not to be a feature,” and Portal to Hell is going to be a full length motion picture.
Sunday, December 21, 2014
If you read the latest installment of Titan Comics’ Doctor Who: The Eleventh Doctor, issue #6, and get seriously annoyed with the narrative storytelling gimmick it employs, you are not the only one. See, the story is told backwards, beginning with the end and moving through time in reverse. It gets really, really irritating.
Thursday, December 18, 2014
Though I’ve watched a fair amount of documentaries this year, which I usually do, as I put together my best-of-the-year list, there’s a noticeable absence of the genre. For various reasons, I’ve missed biggies like Citizenfour, The Case Against 8, and The Overnighters, and though I really enjoyed movies like To Be Takei and The Internet’s Own Boy, I haven’t been floored by what I’ve seen yet. But for all the documentaries out there, I don’t know that there’s one I want to see more than Tales of the Grim Sleeper, and this this new trailer only solidifies that fact.
Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Of the three Doctor Who titles Titan Comics currently has going, The Tenth Doctor continues to show that it is far and away the best of the bunch. Issue #5, the conclusion of the two-part “Arts in Space” arc, further illustrates that this incarnation of the Time Lord, along with his travelling companion Gabby Gonzales, are easily the most relatable, connected duo running around the comic book pages, while also showing that writer Nick Abadzis isn’t afraid to take his time in letting a story or thread unfold and evolve.
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
'The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies' Movie Review: An Epic, Mostly Satisfying End To A Troubled Journey
In the service of transparency, I’m not a fan of the first two films in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy. We could go into greater depth, but that would take a good long while, and I’ve already detailed my issues elsewhere. I find them tedious and dull and almost completely lacking in all of the things that make me love J.R.R. Tolkien’s novel. That said, the latest and final chapter in the franchise, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, is not only the best of the series by a mile, it’s damn entertaining, and a mostly satisfying end to a troubled, overlong journey.
Are you in the mood to sit on your couch and watch a supernatural detective story starring Scott Bakula? If the answer to that question is yes, you’re in luck, as Clive Barker’s Lord of Illusions just got a special edition Blu-ray release, including an extended director’s cut, courtesy of the fine folks at Scream Factory. If you’re familiar with their work, you know that means you get an awesome movie and a fantastic package of extra goodies.
Monday, December 15, 2014
Terrence Malick's 'Knight Of Cups' Trailer Throws Christian Bale Headfirst Into Excess And Temptation
Hot on the heels of the announcement that Terrence Malick’s next film, Knight of Cups, will premiere at the Berlin Film Festival next year, the movie dropped our first look in the form of this new trailer. From what we have here, this is both the Malick we’ve come to expect over his last few films, but also something totally fresh and different.
Thursday, December 11, 2014
With Exodus: Gods and Kings, Ridley Scott set out to create a throwback to the biblical swords-and-sandals epics of yesteryear. He even goes so far as to shoot day-for-night and to use white guys awkwardly painted to look like people from the Middle East. What he succeeds in delivering is a jumbled mess that starts fast and bogs down almost immediately for the entirely of its 149-minute run time. We’re talking about a shockingly dull mess, especially for a movie that bills itself as a massive action extravaganza. It’s a movie with grand ambition, minimal follow through, and little interest in the human component.
Wednesday, December 10, 2014
This is the latest trailer for Mad Max: FuryRoad. Watch it. Watch it loud. Watch it repeatedly. It is absolutely insane, and just when I think I can’t be any more excited for George Miller’s return to the post-apocalyptic wastes, I look at this again and get stoked beyond belief. This is everything I’ve ever wanted out of any movie ever. Hell, this two-and-a-half-minute trailer just became my favorite movie of 2014.
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, reportedly the first ever Iranian vampire western, watches like indie horror raised on a steady diet of Tarantino and Sergio Leone movies. A spare, fresh take on the blood sucker story, it’ll make a interesting double feature with Jim Jarmusch’s 2014 entry into the genre, Only Lovers LeftAlive. In fact, Girl comes across as a younger, twee companion to Lovers. The two are similar in mood, tone, and movement, but while the former is like a night at a dance club, the latter is more akin to a sparsely populated watering hole where you know the bartender by name.
Tuesday, December 9, 2014
Political allegory about race, class, and a host of other issues, I’m intrigued. Political allegory about race, class, and host of other issues, as enacted by dogs, what more can I ask for out of a movie? As a dog person (don’t get me wrong, I adore cats, but I’m first and foremost a dog lover), it’s like they made this White God trailer just for me.
You know who I will follow blindly in the event of any major disaster? That’s right, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. And that includes in the aftermath of a massive earthquake, just like in the first trailer for his upcoming San Andreas. This looks so, so dumb, but also super awesome.
Who would have thought I’d be excited about a remake of Kickboxer? But with a cast led by stunt badass Alan Moussi, featuring former UFC champ George St. Pierre, WWE star Dave Bautista, and original star Jean-Claude Van Damme as the wise mentor figure, you have my attention. Still, I’d rather you call it anything else and just let it be a Kickboxer remake, but now that Gina Carano has joined theparty, you can call it whatever the hell you want and I’m all in.
Sunday, December 7, 2014
2014 has been an awesome year for independent horror, and even though one of the most celebrated titles (Jennifer Kent’s The Babadook) left me totally flat, there is a lot to celebrate, and a lot to look forward to. One of the films I’m most anticipating is David Robert Mitchell’s It Follows, especially after watching this chilling new trailer.
Friday, December 5, 2014
Most of you probably haven’t seen Bill Gunn’s 1973 blaxploitation vampire flick Ganga & Hess, and that’s a damn shame. It’s a cool, unique meditation on race, class, identity, religion, and addiction, as well as being a strange, creepy horror joint. But don’t worry if you’re unfamiliar, because Spike Lee has seen it, and as if to prove that any film, no matter how obscure, can be remade, his Da Sweet Blood of Jesus does just that. It hits theaters and VOD early next year, and now you can check out this new trailer, which now has me solidly on board.
Right now we’re in that awkward place where we try to kill time between the end of Doctor Who season 8 and the annual Christmas special (how can you not be excited at the prospect of Nick Frost playing Santa Claus? That’s going to rule so hard). Lucky for you, we have the continuing adventures of the Doctor on the pages of the funny books to keep us occupied. This time, the Eleventh Doctor is back for the fifth issue of his title, and this bubbly installment bears the moniker “The Sound of my Voice.”
Thursday, December 4, 2014
The new, ridiculously named Terminator: Genisys has been a mixed bag. Some pieces sound rad, others make you roll your eyes. And this first trailer is that in a nutshell. There are elements that look totally great, and some that make you wish this didn’t happen. I’ll shut up for now and let you watch it for yourself. We can talk more about it down below.
Kickboxer is one of the greatest films ever made. If you disagree with that statement, we have very different worldviews. When I heard it was getting remade, with former WWE wrestler-turned-movie-star Dave Bautista as their big name, I had to groan; of course they’re going to fuck up one of my favorite movies. But then they started adding pieces I actually like. For instance, Tony Jaa, Scott Adkins, noted stunt badass Alain Moussi, and former UFC welterweight great Georges St. Pierre, were all on board. Okay, that’s interesting, and while two of those pieces are no longer a part of this particular puzzle, they’ve added a new one in the form of a little guy named Jean-Claude Van Damme. Now you have my attention. I still think this is a terrible idea, but I’m moderately intrigued now.
Saturday, November 29, 2014
Angola is a nation on the western coast of southern Africa. Originally occupied by Portugal, battling for independence, which didn’t come until 1975, and then embroiled in a violent civil war that didn’t end until 2002, it’s an embattled country and not the cheeriest of places. But it also happens to be home to a youth underground turning to an unlikely outlet for hope: death metal. If that sounds like a fascinating subject worth exploring, you’re not alone, and it’s the topic of Jeremy Xido’s excellent new documentary Death Metal Angola.
Friday, November 28, 2014
We all knew this was going to happen, we just didn’t necessarily expect it to go down this soon. There was such a big deal made about how the new teaser for Star Wars: The Force Awakens was finally coming, and how it was only going to show in 30 movie theaters across the country starting today, but what was waiting for us all online this morning when we woke up? That’s right, a Thanksgiving miracle, the first Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer, and you can watch it right here, and it’s awesome.
Wednesday, November 26, 2014
This needs to happen, like right now. Wrestling legend “Rowdy” Roddy Piper has battled aliens in John Carpenter’s classic The Live and tackled giant mutant amphibians in Hell Comes to Frogtown. (Why hasn’t he been in an Expendables movie yet? You’re slipping, Stallone.) Now he’s getting set to take on the Great Old One himself. Yeah, Roddy Piper is going to tangle tentacles with Cthulhu in the short film Portal to Hell, but he needs your help first.
Monday, November 24, 2014
Force Majeure, Sweden’s entry into the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar race, is a disaster thriller where actual disaster is entirely secondary and serves as a launching pad for the rest of the film. A biting, and bitingly funny, look at marriage, family, love, and coming to terms with the person you turned out to be, this is getting some serious buzz when it comes to end of the year awards, and rightfully so.
Sunday, November 23, 2014
The Walking Dead is building towards something, something big. A major conflict has been brewing between the core group and the group at the hospital, and tonight’s episode, “Crossed,” the last one before the annual mid-season hiatus, pushes things even farther. It’s kind of all over the place, and there’s a lot going on, but it drives the arc of season 5 in a direction it needs to go.
Stop reading this if you haven’t watched “Crossed,” we’re going to get all kinds of spoilery from here on out.
Saturday, November 22, 2014
Zombies may be all over American popular culture, from hit TV shows like The Walking Dead to goddamn Starburst and Hyundai commercials, but the undead aren’t our sole property. From Wild Zero to Remington and the Curse of the Zombadings, they’re worldwide, including Nigeria. And in that spirit, check out this trailer for C.J. Obasi’s Ojuju.
Friday, November 21, 2014
We now know that Peter Capaldi will be back to front Doctor Who for at least season 9 of the long running BBC sci-fi adventure series, but his run on the pages of the funny books is just getting started. I admittedly haven’t caught up with his tenure on the show, but from the general feed back form Whovian friends out there, it sounds like it started out strong, but had some missteps along the way as the episodes progressed. But now that season 8 is in the books, and if you need to kill some time before the Christmas special (which stars Nick Frost as Santa), he’s back for his second issue.
Thursday, November 20, 2014
There are parts of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay—Part 1 that are harrowing, moving, and action-packed. While that can be fun to watch, and there are some nice bits of spectacle level eye candy, including the destruction of a massive damn, the problem is that the film never becomes more than simply the first part in a larger saga. This makes sense, obviously, as the third book in Suzanne Collins’ dystopian young adult trilogy has been split into two movies, but in this case, the film is all build up and feels like it’s just killing time before getting to the meaty part of the story.
Pitch Perfect is easily my favorite movie of 2012. No joke, it’s on my top ten list for the year, though it should be much higher ranked in retrospect, as there was a stretch of ten days after it came out on DVD where I watched it at least once a day, and my views probably topped 30 throughout the rest of the year. So, as you probably guessed, I’m rather excited for the upcoming Pitch Perfect 2. Who expected competitive college a capella to be my jam? But now the first trailer is here, and I apologize in advance for the long periods where I disappear for days at a time and just watch this.
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
With the ever-increasing prominence of the Internet in our daily lives (how many simple, routine tasks are now accomplished solely digitally?) it brings up a whole slew of new problems and issues. It’s also created a whole new approach and area of activism that was once both inaccessible and unnecessary. Brian Knappenberger’s new documentary, The Internet’s Own Boy, explores one figure in the push for digital equality, Aaron Schwartz, who not only championed parity across for all across the web, but paid the ultimate price for his efforts.
Monday, November 17, 2014
Just the fact that Paul Thomas Anderson has a new movie coming out is enough to get most movie fans excited. Though we’re tenting our fingers like Mr. Burns over his latest, the psychedelic noir adaptation of Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice, the first trailers have been rather uninspiring. But lucky for us, there’s this short new trailer, cut by Anderson himself, which captures the manic, wing-nut energy of the story.
Fresh off a victory at the Cinema One film festival in the Philippines, the debut directorial effort from Dodo Dayo, Violator, has delivered a creepy new trailer. It’s not in English, and there are no subtitles, but don’t worry, you get the point they’re trying to make, and it’s spooky as hell.
Sunday, November 16, 2014
During the last half of season 4, AMC’s The WalkingDead took a different approach to telling the zombie story, breaking the core group up into smaller factions and following each one for an episode, or at least most of them. Season 5 has taken that strategy and added even more narrative tweaks and gymnastics. They’ve staggered the timeline, so not only do events in different places play out simultaneously, each chapter adds to your overall knowledge, filling in blank spots and answering questions posed earlier. Thus far, it’s been an inventive tactic, creating a tension that carries week to week, and builds the arc of the season in a different and unusually satisfying way. (It’s weirdly like watching Arrested Development, letting stories unfold over multiple episodes, in multiple timeframes.) This week’s episode, “Consumed,” follows this path and delivers one of the best installments of the season.
There are SPOILERS beyond this point. If you haven’t watched “Consumed” yet and have any interest in doing so, stop reading now or what follows falls on you.
Saturday, November 15, 2014
I’m not too proud to admit that I enjoyed Dumb and Dumber when it came out, and that I have fond memories of the film. Granted, it was 20 years ago and I was 16-years-old, but it was Jim Carrey and the Farrelly Brothers working at the height of their respective games. In the intervening years, I haven’t been able to bring myself to watch it again because I’m afraid it will tarnish otherwise pleasant recollections, but I think I can go ahead and give it a shot because the new sequel, Dumb and Dumber To, just did a solid job of ruining the first film for me.
Thursday, November 13, 2014
Biopics live and die on the strength of their performances, and fortunately for James Marsh’s The Theory of Everything, a telling of the life and loves of Stephen Hawking, the two leads are marvelous. Eddie Redmayne (Jupiter Ascending) plays the renowned cosmologist, while Felicity Jones (The Amazing Spider-Man 2) plays his wife Jane. It is these transformative performances that are the true strength of the film, and are what elevate this above your standard life-story movie.
Monday, November 10, 2014
Along with the likes of Scott Adkins, Michael Jai White, and Tony Jaa, Chilean martial artist Marko Zaror is one of the baddest men currently working in action cinema. Up until now, he’s largely been relegated to smaller roles and random villain parts in these mostly DTV genre flicks, but now with Redeemer he gets to take center stage. And watching this new trailer this is going to be something you need to see, and well worth the wait.
Sunday, November 9, 2014
Last week’s episode of The Walking Dead, “Slabtown,” wasn’t great, and is the weakest episode of the series since the middle of season 4. But luckily, it was just a slight speed bump, as the hit zombie drama returned to its recent form with the fifth episode of season 5, “Self Help.” As the core group has broken up again, they’re sticking with the narrative structure where each episode follows one splinter, and this installment sheds some light on members of the cast who, though they’ve been present, haven’t had much to do.
It should go without saying that there are spoilers coming, but I’ll say it anyway, there are spoilers coming.
Saturday, November 8, 2014
Christopher Nolan is widely known as a student of film and cinema. His movies are full of references and influences from earlier works, and his latest, Interstellar, is no exception. Watching the epic space adventure slash family drama unfold, you can’t help but notice nods to the work of other filmmakers. While there is obvious inspiration taken from films like Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and Philip Kaufman’s The Right Stuff, there are many more that you wouldn’t necessarily expect. Just for the hell of it, we’ve compiled a handful of classic black and white films (and one that is, admittedly, cheating) whose presence can be felt, to varying degrees, in Nolan’s latest offering.
Friday, November 7, 2014
Of the three continuing Doctor Who titles that Titan Comics currently has going—one each for Doctor Ten, Eleven, and Twelve, with Nine reportedly on the way—it’s Ten that is the real standout. Twelve is more dour and serious, like Peter Capaldi’s version, and Eleven, much like Matt Smith’s portrayal, is super bouncy and cartoony, and though it’s improving each issue, it has a ways to go. Ten, however, uses a different narrative approach than the others, and the writing his more introspective, which gives you more of an emotional connection to the players. And this continues in Issue #4.
Tuesday, November 4, 2014
Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar is one serious mixed bag of a film, as spectacular as it is flawed. It delivers the most breathtaking, gorgeous visuals you’ve ever seen in a movie, things that you can’t help but gawk at, slack jawed and bug eyed. Along with that, a large portion of the story is so trite and hokey that that it takes much of the shine off of the rest. Big and epic and ambitious in every way, not everything lands like it needs to, and there are incredible highs mixed with moments that leave you completely flat.
Sunday, November 2, 2014
They’ve been hinting at it and building up to it, but tonight The Walking Dead finally lets you know what happened to Beth (Emily Kinney). Another one of the characters that had been, for too long, basically useless, Beth started to come into her own in the latter portion of season 4. In fact, maybe the best episode of the entire season, “Still,” belongs almost wholly to her, featuring two people, Beth and Daryl (Norman Reedus), and no one else. But can she carry an entire episode all on her own? You’re about to find out with “Slabtown.”
As usual, we’re going to take a stroll through Spoiler Town, so if you haven’t watched the episode yet, you may want to cool your jets for a while.
Saturday, November 1, 2014
Bless, you, The Fast and the Furious franchise, bless you. Why wouldn’t you start the first trailer for Furious 7 by parachuting cars out of an airplane? That’s the logical choice to us. Why is there a bus with automated machine guns? Why wouldn’t you ram a car into another car in order to propel Paul Walker forward into yet another vehicle, all at dangerously high speeds?
Thursday, October 30, 2014
“A screaming woman running down the street with her throat cut.” That’s the image Nina (Rene Russo) evokes when describing her news program in director Dan Gilroy’s tremendous thriller Nightcrawler. It’s tempting to adopt that as a metaphor for the entire film—Gilroy’s first, by the way, which makes his achievement doubly impressive—but while that is definitely part of the equation, what drives this movie forward is the menace that lurks just below the surface, beneath a calm exterior personified by Jake Gyllenhaal’s Louis Bloom.
It took a couple of issues to really find a groove, but Titan Comics’ Doctor Who: The Eleventh Doctor has found a nice groove over the two installments of the continuing adventures of Matt Smith’s incarnation of the venerable Time Lord and his new companion, former library assistant Alice Obiefune. Each new book still functions very much like a standalone episode, but in issue #4, writer Al Ewing has struck a solid balance between that and the larger narrative arc that gives these tales a more substantial texture.
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Halloween is coming, and while there’s always a lot of talk about potentially awesome costume designs, every year people don and assortment of truly questionable outfits. To help steer your holiday in the right direction, we’ve compiled a list of sci-fi themes you may want to steer away from to ensure a smooth, hassle free night of handing out candy and getting wasted.
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Clive Barker’s Nightbreed is the very definition of a cult movie. The 1990 horror fantasy has legions of rabid fans, a swirling mythology both inside the film and without, and is one of those films intended to be the start of a franchise, but is destined to forever remain as is. At least it was. Stories of studio interference, and censors demanding that somewhere in the neighborhood of 17 scenes be cut before the film could screen theatrically, make it readily apparent that the Nightbreed we’ve been watching all these years is not the version of the film Barker initially intended. Now Scream Factory has delivered the definitive director’s cut of the film on Blu-ray, and put together one hell of a package. This is an absolute must for every Nightbreed fan lurking out there in the darkness.